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Labour minister flays banks over loan scheme

by Business News Report

Banking and financial institution yesterday came under severe criticism for not facilitating the disbursement of the graduate loan scheme established to provide short term loans to unemployed graduates.
Speaking with Dodan Barracks correspondents yesterday after attending the bi-monthly Council of Ministers, the minister of labour and employment, Maj-Gen. Ike Nwachukwu complained that the banks’ response to the loans scheme programme had not been satisfactory adding that he intended to meet with ban king executives on the issue.
Maj-Gen. Nwachukwu disclosed that the Federal Military Government had already paid the participating banks (in the scheme) a total sum of N55 million to serve as guarantee for the graduate loan scheme and wondered why the financial institutions were not reacting quicky to release the loans to the young school leavers.
He reminded the banks that by virtue of their calling, they hd a social responsibility to the young men and women and society stressing that government alone could not afford to bear all the responsibilities.
Whatever ills our youths suffer must be jointly shared by the banks and government he added.

Major-General Nwachukwu urged the banks to take more risk as no country could grow without such risks being taken from time to time.
The minister however commended the banks for responding favourably to the government call urging them to increase their labour force by at least 3%.
He noted with satisfaction that some banks had in fact exceeded the required target by the additional 2%.
Asked what plans the government had for over 30,000 youths corps members who completed their compulsory one year national service last Friday, Major General Nwachukwu simply retorted: “We cannot create jobs for everyone.”
He however advised the ex-corps members to focus their search light on the informal private sectors and take advantage of the opportunities provided.
This, he believed they could do by coming together to form cooperative bodies. Major General Nwachukwu suggested that such corps members should carry out feasibility studies and turn such fundings over to the Directorate of Employment for scrutiny.
“If their studies are approved, we’ll direct them to the banks for loans” he added.
Earlier, Information Minister, Prince Tony Momoh, has in a separate interview, described yesterday’s meeting as “emergency one” convened to reconcile government finances, and streamline expenses in line with available resources.
She said that UBA has already approve 19 projects and that beneficiaries attached to the bank would get their loans by next week.
Some of the 184 beneficiaries who spoke to The Republic complained that the banks are asking for collateral securities when initially they were told that their certificates will be enough security.

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